Ireland has ranked seventh out of 27 countries on a scorecard of how they help the world’s poor but performed poorly on investing in developing countries and policies blocking migrants from those nations.
The Commitment to Development Index, a ranking compiled by the Washington DC- based think tank Centre for Global Development, scored Ireland at the same level as the United Kingdom, which was found to have the most development-friendly policies of any of Group of Seven biggest economies.
While Ireland performed strongly on development aid, low emissions growth and its contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations, the country was found to be only one of three without a national political risk insurance agency and a weak investor in developing countries.
“The Irish Government also scores poorly with regard to its low level of support for technology development and dissemination, substantial agricultural subsidies and policies that inhibit migrants from developing countries,” the centre’s report said.
Nordic countries, Denmark, Sweden and Norway were scored the highest among the 27 wealthy countries. Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Finland also ranked ahead of Ireland. Out of seven areas, Ireland performed worst on “technology”, scoring fifth from last out of 27 nations on the basis of low government support for research and development and for having a strong intellectual property rights regime that limits the dissemination of new technologies to poor countries.
The country was ranked around mid-table in the areas of trade, finance, migration and the environment but scored highly in the areas of security and aid.
Ireland was penalised for not having a political risk insurance agency and for not providing assistance to companies looking to invest in developing countries.
The country was also scored poorly for showing “weak leadership” in extractive industry transparency initiatives, which are designed to force companies to disclose what governments in developing countries are paid for minerals contracts to encourage greater wealth distribution among people.
The report cites as Ireland’s weaknesses on migration the small share of foreign students coming from development countries and the small number of immigrants from developing countries.
Ireland was penalised for imposing high tariffs on rice, sugar and beef as a member state of the European Union, for high agricultural subsidiaries and for requiring many documents for imports.
High fishing subsidies and poor compliance with mandatory reporting requirements under international environment agreements on biodiversity were described as weaknesses in the area of environment.
Overall, the report said that wealthy countries have “a long way to go to improve policies that support shared global prosperity.”
“What we see are slight improvements, but overall industrialised countries, and the largest, richest nations in particular, fall well short of their potential,” said Nancy Birdsall, president of the Centre for Global Development.